Bespoked is a tribute to all things hand made – beautiful, custom crafted, sometimes weird and wonderful hand made bicycles and accessories.
Bespoked Bike Show is being held this weekend in Bristol.
Here are our highlights of the show’s mountain bike offerings…
Words and photos by Jamie Edwards
Swarf Cycles full suspension prototype
This Swarf Cycles 29’er full suspension prototype was being hosted by Bear Frame Supplies – manufacturers of drop outs, braking components and other bits that help bring hand built frames to life.
Swarf Cycles already have their Spline hardtail (available in 27.5″ and 29″) and this full suspension is one of two prototype 29’ers that owner Adrian Bedford has built to try out various suspension set ups and rear shocks. The bike is said to be about 30.8lbs with a coil shock (30lbs with air) and is TIG welded throughout. The main tubes are made from Reynolds 853 DZB with Reynolds 631 for the seat and head tubes.
The bike has a Cane Creek coil but Adrian is also testing the DB Air InLine and RS Monarch alongside. He has “worked closely with Cane Creek during the development and … made the leverage rate to work with both air and coil shocks”. The suspension design is progressive according Adrian. The frame has a 67d head angle, 75.7 seat angle and -45BB.
Interestingly, the frame is designed to make use of flex in the rear triangle. Where many similar bikes will put a pivot on the rear stay (near the drop out), the Swarf’s seat stays are designed to flex and do the job instead. If you look carefully, you can see that the stays are flattened along their length to make them more compliant.
More at swarfcycles.co.uk.
Carbon Wasp full custom carbon bikes
Where much of the bikes at Bespoked are built in steel, Carbon Wasp is all about (you guessed it) carbon.
Carbon Wasp build fully customisable carbon frames in Yorkshire. If you want a slacker head angle, they can do it. More reach? Done. More travel? No problem. Pretty much every detail of the frame down to which suspension platform you’d like can be designed and built to your exact specification. Yep, you can even have a little storage space in your down tube to store your pork pies.
Carbon Wasp frames are all one-offs, with each frame created in a disposable, 3D printed mould. When complete the frame is beautifully simple and is made up of just 5 pieces – the front triangle, two pieces of linkage and two pieces of rear triangle.
Carbon Wasp are taking orders now with prices based on the level of customisation you’re looking for.
More info at carbonwasp.com.
The Bicycle Academy
The Bicycle Academy are based in Frome, Somerset and their contribution to the handbuilt bike scene is enormous.
Andrew Denham and co. are leading the charge in building a strong, sustainable and growing British hand built bike industry. They’re pushing the scene beyond hobbyists and helping to build a proper, credible industry. They offer instruction, apprenticeships, consultancy to frame builders and their own manufacturing in house.
They’re also perfecting the art of building the tools that you need to actually build a frame – hence the mantra “Well made things to build things well”. Above is a frame jig, used to set up the geometry of your hand built frame and keep everything in place whilst it’s being brazed.
You can learn more about the Bicycle Academy at thebicycleacademy.org.
Curtis prototype full suspension
Absolutely brand new at the show, this Curtis full suspension prototype is so fresh it hasn’t even got a name yet!
(Update – the bike is now called the Curtis XR650. You can learn more about it here.)
Curtis build frames outside Bath with “a saw, a file and a kettle” (their words!) and have been creating some of the coolest, handbuilt frames in the game since the 70’s. They had a bit of a quiet patch in the last few years but are apparently back with new bikes and new energy but the same expert welders.
The original team of Brian Curtis and Gary Woodhouse are still very much involved and are building each frame by hand. Gary tacks the frames, Brian does the brazing, Gary then gets them painted and assembled.
The prototype has been built for Jim Davage (you can see his name on the shock mount). It has 160mm rear travel, 64.5d head angle and is hand built from steel. The swing arm and down tube are aerospace T45, the top tube is air hardened and butted Reynolds 853, the seat tube is Reynolds 631.
The frames will be built to order but Curtis still need to work out how much they’re going to cost. You can specify custom options for reach, head angle, head tube length, seat tube angle and seat tube height – with the rear triangles staying consistent for each bike.
You can learn more at curtisbikes.co.uk.
Tom Ritchey’s hand built Ritchey Old School New School frame.
Chances are you’ve seen this frame before – but it’s such a great story that we had to include it.
Tom Ritchey is the god father of hand built bicycle frames and the man behind the Ritchey brand. He visited The Bicycle Academy and built this frame by hand in a morning, then went and shredded it round Ashton Court in the afternoon.
The video is here and the frame is a stunner.
Chris King himself
Everyone gets a little name badge at the trade day of Bespoked. It has their name and their company. His said ‘Chris King, Chris King’.
Mr King was taking in the show and enjoying a good look at the various hand built bikes – there were definitely a few star struck frame builders who couldn’t believe he was admiring their bikes. Legend.
The BTR Fabrications Pinner 2017
Our star of the show. The BTR Fabrications Pinner was unveiled at Bespoked for the very first time on Friday morning, hot off the jig. It’s a link-driven single pivot frame, built in steel that has 130mm(ish!) of travel. It’s available in 4 sizes and in 26″ and 27.5″.
The Pinner has been hand built in Frome by Burf and Tam at BTR Fabrications and is an absolute beauty. The bike was originally launched in 2014 and spawned a further downhill version.
For 2017 the bike has been redesigned with fresh geometry and “a few tweaks here and there”. The sheet metal gussets on the frame are replaced with tubes and BTR have retuned the linkage for a coil shock, rather than an air. The bike has been designed for coil shocks this time round for better small bump sensitivity and tuneability – with the Extreme Shocks Storia or Cane Creek Double Barrel coil available. The frame also comes with internal routing, with a stainless tube inside the frame to make routing super easy.
The bike is available to order from Monday 10th April on the BTR website. Riders can select reach, head angle and seat tube length. They can also have custom head badge text, they can choose to drop the internal routing and go for a conventional seat clamp or integrated one. Frames are around £2800 with shock.
More at btr-fabrications.com.